But these “expert” recommendations for a federal child care program are fundamentally at odds with what parents want. Rather than listen to the so‐called child care professionals, let’s listen to the real pros: parents.
Parents want time to care for their own children. Studies conducted by the Families and Work Institute show that more than two of three employed parents say they do not have enough time with their children. Families speak of a “time famine” — they need more time with each other, less time in the workplace. According to a poll conducted for Glamour, 88 percent of all women agreed with the statement, “If I could afford it, I would rather be at home with my children.” Several other polls have shown that fewer than 15 percent of all parents favor working full‐time when they have young children. In a recent poll conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, respondents were asked to rate nine different child care options on a scale of 1 to 10. Predictably, care by a child’s own mother, father or family member came in first, second and third place—care in day care centers took last place.
Parents trust family, not “professionals,” to care for their children. When a recent Newsweek poll asked parents where they turn for advice and guidance about how to raise their children, they reported seeking guidance from grandparents, relatives, friends and religious leaders. Coming up last? You guessed it — advice from child care workers. And day care centers, which offer the care that professionals lobby the government to pay for, are the last place in which most parents would like to place their children. The fact that fewer than 15 percent of the nation’s children are cared for in child care centers attests to that.